The fall of Jericho…the arrest of Jesus

3 05 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN : Joshua 5 v. 13 – 7 v. 26; Luke 22 v. 39 – 62; Psalm 50 v. 15 – 23

JOSHUA
The Fall of Jericho – Approaching Jericho, Joshua sees ‘the commander of the army of the Lord’ standing before him, and he has the message
‘take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy’.
(Joshua’s ‘Moses holy ground’ moment)

Jericho is a hard place to leave or go into, for fear of the Israelites, and Joshua is told that the Lord has already delivered the city into their hands.
They are instructed to march round the city once every day for six days.
Seven priests carry seven trumpets in front of the Ark of the Covenant, and they march round the city, an armed guard in front and behind them. The trumpets sound, but there’s no ‘war cry’ at this stage.
So, they do this for six days, once each day, then return to camp.

On the seventh day, they set of early (daybreak) and this time march round seven times. When the priests gave the trumpet blast, the people were commanded to ‘Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!’
When the people did this, the walls of the city collapsed, the army piled in, and they conquered the city.

The city is ‘devoted to the Lord‘, and every living thing is destroyed.
Joshua commands that Rahab, the prostitute, who had assisted his spies, and all her family be spared.
The whole city is burned. The silver and gold, bronze and iron they find are put into the Lord’s treasury.

Joshua places a curse on anyone who seeks to rebuild Jericho, and his ‘fame spread throughout the land’.

Achan’s Sin – Oh dear – does it always have to be this way…‘the Israelites acted unfaithfully in regard to the devoted things’…taking some for themselves. Achan (a Judahite), did this, and God was angry with him.
Joshua sends spies ahead of them, again, to check out the region of Ai (east of Bethel). They return with the news that not all the army will be needed to conquer Ai, they’d only need a few thousand, and the others could rest. Joshua sends three thousand but they return defeated (about 36 of them were killed). The whole Israelite camp is deeply affected by this defeat – ‘the hearts of the people melted and became like water’.
Joshua seeks the Lord, falls face down before the Ark of the Covenant, all day, into evening, as did all the elders of Israel.
Joshua sounds so deflated and defeated (at the first hurdle) and pours his heart out to God, suggesting it would have been better if they’d stayed the other side of the Jordan.
The Lord tells him to ‘stand up….Israel has sinned’, informing Joshua that they have taken some of the ‘devoted things’. Stealing, lying and keeping what’s not theirs. This is the real reason why the Israelites were defeated at Ai.
‘I will not be with you any more unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.’
The call is made for the people to consecrate themselves again, and to remove what is ‘devoted’ from their possession.
The following morning, the tribes are presented and the Lord points to the tribe of Judah; from them, the Lord picks out the Zerahite clan; from them the Zimri family was brought forward; from them Achan was picked. Joshua tells Achan that he is to confess before the Lord what he has done.
Achan confesses – he had taken a beautiful robe, two hundred shekels of silver, a wedge of gold, and had hidden them with his things.
Joshua sends people to Achan’s tent and finds everything as he’d told them. They are brought to Joshua.
Achan and all his family and livestock, and the things he’d stolen are taken to the Valley of Achor, where they are all stoned and burned by the Israelites for the trouble they had brought upon the whole people.
The Lord’s anger subsides, as the people bury Achan’s family under a large pile of stones.

At the first hurdle, again, there are those who fall into temptation, and bring God’s wrath and displeasure upon His chosen people. As they are moving into the promised land, their purity of devotion and obedience is paramount.

I was struck by the ‘beautiful robe’ Achan had been tempted by – something attractive and exotic by the sound of it, and comparing it to the robe of righteousness God provides us through Christ Jesus – a robe offered us freely through our devotion and obedience to Jesus.

LUKE
Jesus Prays – So now, after the Last Supper, Jesus is on the Mount of Olives with his disciples. He told them to pray that they would not fall into temptation. He went a little way further and knelt to pray.
‘Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.’
An angel appeared to strengthen Him in this moment.
As Jesus is praying, blood drops fall as sweat to the ground.
The disciples have fallen asleep when He gets back to them, so he wakes them up and repeats His instruction to pray they will not fall into temptation.

Jesus is so utterly alone, that even those closest to Him can’t remain fully with Him in His deepest hour of need – they drop off to sleep. Our God ‘neither slumbers nor sleeps’, He is ever vigilant, fully with us in our every hour.

Jesus Arrested – The crowd arrive to arrest Jesus, and Judas is leading them.
He leads them to Jesus, with a ‘kiss’ being the ultimate sign of betrayal.
The disciples get themselves ready to attack – ‘Shall we strike them now with our swords?’
The high priest’s servant has his ear chopped off, but Jesus heals it immediately.
Jesus tells them to put their swords away.
Jesus questions the crowd as to why they’ve come for Him with clubs and swords, when they could have arrested Him any time they wanted in the temple.
‘BUT THIS IS THE HOUR WHEN DARKNESS REIGNS – YOUR HOUR’.

Darkness truly has its moment to reign….but Sunday’s coming. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never extinguished it.

Peter Denies Jesus – This episode is so painful for Peter.
He is the only disciple anywhere near Jesus at this point. Peter has followed at a distance and is in the courtyard alongside the High Priest’s house.
Peter is asked three times if he had been with Jesus, or was one of the ‘them’, or simply a Galilean.
Peter says he has never known Jesus.
Oops.
The cock crows.
Jesus turns and looks at Peter – a look of compassion, of hurt, of pain ?
Peter leaves, in floods of tears.
A broken man….

PSALM
a message to the wicked, who pretend to be God’s but hate His instruction and ‘cast my words behind you’.
‘These things you have done and I have kept silent…but I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face.’
there is a way back…‘consider this…He who sacrifices thank-offerings honours me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.’

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